Relational Bullying Contextual Information the essay

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2. Stonewalling, or what many people, referred to as "silent treatment" occurs when the bully or group simply ignores the victim completely. This can be extremely distressing to adolescents. This often occurs with group exclusion.

3. A common form of relational bullying is the spreading of rumors and gossip about the victim. This is a direct attempt to ruin the victim's relationships and exclude them from contact with their peers and even with adults.

4. Taunting occurs when the bully insults or verbally abuses the victim directly. Taunting often continues even when the victim physically breaks down.

5. Conditional friendships occur when the bully places demands on the victim in order for the victim to be allowed in the group were with peers.

The effects of relational bullying are often more psychologically damaging than the effects of more physical forms of bullying. In addition, relational and physical bullying are often carried out simultaneously on the victim (Dukes et al., 2010). A victim of relational bullying and the associated difficulty in the victim's relationships with their peers have been demonstrated to be linked to various other problems such as depression, decreased academic performance, poor social skills, issues with self-esteem, and even somatic symptoms such as nausea, headaches, and bedwetting (Klomek et al., 2007; Macmillan & Hagan, 2004). Adolescent victims of bullying can respond in a variety of different ways and there is no solid method of prediction as to how someone will respond to relational bullying perhaps other than looking at past responses to bullying. It is known that female victims of relational bullying are more likely to experience suicidal ideations and are at a greater risk for suicide than male victims, although both genders are at risk for this behavior (Klomek et al., 2007).

Prevention Programs

Prevention programs targeted at the victims of bullying and relational bullying most often focused on one of three approaches (Swearer et al., 2010; Weissberg, Caplan, M., & Harwood, 1991):

1. Teaching social skills to the victims.

2. Having victims and bullies participate together and activities aimed at a supraordinate goal and under the supervision of teachers or even psychologists.

3. Cognitive behavioral training for the victims and their problems.

The results of these three interventions have been mixed. There are some protective factors for the victim of bullying. Wang et al. (2009) found that greater parental support was associated with less involvement across all forms and classifications of bullying and children with had more friends was associated with less victimization from bullying (but bullies were also likely to have more friends than victims).

Martial Arts Training and Bullying

A suggested intervention for the victims of bullying is martial arts training (e.g., Burrows, 2011). While there are quite a number of popular anecdotal tales about training in martial arts leading to a reduction in victimization by bullies, martial arts training has not been fully investigated empirically regarding its utility in decreasing victimization of bullying. There has been research that indicates that martial arts training is a positive intervention to decrease youth violence and therefore may reduce the aggressive actions of bullies (e.g., Burt & Butler, 2011).

There have also been a number of empirical studies that indicated that training in different types of martial arts does increase overall self-esteem, confidence, and self -discipline in children, adolescents, and adults (e.g., Columbus & Rice, 1998). This research along with the numerous anecdotal stories of the positive benefits of martial arts training and its ability to help victims of bullying indicates that research may discover a positive relationship between learning martial arts and a reduction in victimization to bullies.

Research Questions

This study will seek to answer three core questions:

1. Does martial arts training for female victims of relational bullying result in a decrease in bullying?

2. Does martial arts training for female victims of relational bullying result in increased self-esteem?

3. Does martial arts training for female victims of relational bullying result in decreases in their level of depression?

Chapter 3: Methodology

Problem Statement

Bullying is a serious concern for many high school students, parents, and teachers in U.S. schools. The results of being a victim of bullying can be quite serious and paralyzing. Relational bullying targets the victim's relationships with his/her peers by isolating the victim from their peer group. Interventions to reduce victimization from bullying often include social skills training and cognitive restructuring; however, martial arts training may also be useful in empowering victims of relational bullying. The current study attempts to determine if martial arts training can help female victims of relational bullying.


The participants for the current study will be 50 female high school students in grades 9-12 who have been victims of relational bullying. The study body of the high school from which the participants will be sampled has an ethnic mix of 84% European-American, nine percent African-American, three percent Asian-American and Hispanic-American, and less than one percent Indian-American or multi-racial Americans. It is therefore expected that the majority of the sample will be European-American.

Approximately 40% of the student enrollment in the high school participates in the free and reduced lunch program indicating that potentially a high proportion of students will be from lower socio-economic status parents.


The current study will use three formal measures:

The Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ; Olweus, 1996). The OBVQ consists of 40 questions for the measurement of bully/victim problems such as, exposure to various physical, verbal, relational, or sexual forms of bullying/harassment. Bulling questions are answered on a five point scale relating to the number of times the victim has been bullied in a specific manner over the previous two months. The scale also measures such things as where the bullying occurs and the extent to which teachers, peers, and parents are informed about and respond to the bullying. Psychometric studies of the OBVQ have indicated high internal consistency (.8 to .9) and excellent construct and criterion validity (Kyriakides, Kaloyirou & Lindsay, 2006; Cheng, Chen, Liu & Chen, 2011). The questions relating specifically to instances of relational bullying will be used in the analysis for the current study (q4, q5, q6, q8, q10, q11, and q12).

The Beck Depression Inventory -- II (BDI-II; Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996). The BDI-II consists of 21 items read by the subject (or alternatively they can be read to the subject by the administrator). Each item is followed by four options (statements) that the respondent is required to endorse as they are related to their feelings over the prior two weeks including the day of the assessment. The items reflect different dimensions of depression ranging from sadness to loss of energy to loss of interest in activities such as sex. The BDI-II has excellent reliability and validity across all age groups (Segal, Coolidge, Cahill, & O'Riley, 2008). It can be used over multiple assessments and remains one of the most used measures of depression for both research and clinical uses. The overall score from the BDI-II will be used for this study.

The Rosenburg Self-Esteem Test (RSE; Rosenburg, 1965). The RSE one of the most utilized measures of global self-esteem. It is a brief 10-question measure. Each question has four possible Likert-scale responses. Psychiatric studies of the RSE have consistently demonstrated acceptable reliability and validity (Robins, Hendin, & Trzesniewski, 2001). The overall total score for the RSE will be used in this study.

In addition to the three formal psychiatric measures the current study will utilize tae kwon do instruction from a registered black belt level tae kwon do martial artist who has experience teaching adolescents martial arts.


The design will be a quasi-experimental design. The participants will be recruited via a post on the school bulletin board. The post will ask for participation in the study on bullying in females. Since relational bullying is the primary form of bullying between females Dukes et al. (2010) it can be expected that the majority of female respondents will be victims of relational bullying. In addition, the researcher will personally recruit female victims of relational bullying based on the researcher's knowledge of female students who have been bullied or complained of being bullied. Participants will fill out information forms to get their basic demographic data. The OBVQ will be given to each participant as a pretest to determine their experience in being a victim of relational bullying and relatively free from other forms of bullying. Upon recruitment participants will also receive the BDI -- II and the RSE for pretest measures of their level of depression and self-esteem. A basic explanation of the study design and informed consent from the parents of all the participants will be obtained.

After taking the pretest participants will be randomly assigned to a control group (no martial arts classes) and a treatment group that will engage in free tae kwon do training from a local tae kwon do school. The tae kwon do training will be provided by a black belt level tae kwon do…[continue]

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